Saturday, October 20, 2007

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

How was the class observation?

Let's just say that it could have gone better. Granted, it could have gone worse. But we were discussing Rome and the origins of Christianity. And I kid you not, the students launched into a debate about whether the Jews were to blame for the death of Jesus. [Holy hell, get me out of here!!!]

I basically shut down the discussion and said that here was not the place to be debating that. (Andy or kr, I may need some Biblical assistance on this one!) My dean told me I handled the rough patch pretty well, though.

Why couldn't he have been there two days earlier, for Ancient Greece and the naked Olympics? Now that was a rockin' lecture.

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Blogger Neel Mehta said...

And I kid you not, the students launched into a debate about whether the Jews were to blame for the death of Jesus.

They (Jews, not the students) are at least partly to blame; why else would God have allowed an anti-Semite to direct The Passion of the Christ?

For what it's worth, I don't think we should blame the Jews nearly as much as the dinosaurs.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Probably the Romans share the majority of the blame. The best support for this thinking comes from comparing the four Gospel accounts in the order in which we think they were written: Mark, Matthew, Luke, then John; you'll notice a clear shift in emphasis on culpability. Mark's is the oldest, written probably in the 60's CE, and the Romans come off as the bad guys. Matthew, writing soon after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, talks a lot about the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but these should not be lumped together as "the Jews." Both Mark and Matthew were writing for early Christians who thought of themselves as Jews. Matthew's references to these other groups reflect internal tensions, not separate people. John is the one who talks most frequently and least pleasantly about "the Jews," but "John" was probably a Gentile Christian writing in Asia Minor, somewhere from 90-100 CE. By this time, following the destruction of the Temple, the separation of Christians and Jews was complete; in the wake of the Temple's destruction, the Pharisees became dominant and here we find the roots of modern rabbinic Judaism. As Christianity spread north and west, with footholds in Greece and Rome, the division between Christians and Jews became racial as well as religious; within a couple of hundred years, Christianity would become the official religion of Rome. The Romans didn't seem inclined to accept their own responsibility for the death of Jesus, but most likely he was executed for being a political dissident. The Roman governors of Palestine endured a series of Jewish revolts led by grass-roots religious figures like Jesus. One of the better explanations for why there isn't more of a concrete historical record for Jesus' crucifixion is that the execution of religious Jews who made the Romans nervous was a daily occurrence.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous kr said...

Barabas, I read somewhere, was a "murderer" because he was a Jewish freedom-fighter who had killed some Roman or other ... clearly extra-Biblical, perhaps that was in the early Church writings? ... anyhow, it was an interesting reflection of what Andy just said.


Really, for me, the whole argument is so ridiculous. Jesus SAID, on the frikkin' CROSS, "forgive them for they know not what they do." Which clearly applies no matter WHO was "doing" the objectionable thing, and negates the whole blame question--and particularly negates the condemnation question (which is also negated by countless "don't judge others" teachings by Jesus and others).

HELLO, if you are "Christian," get OVER y'self, and if you aren't, why the frik do you CARE? No fair justifying anti-Semetism with the Bible if you don't believe the Bible, and no logic justifying it with the Bible if you do.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous kr said...

By which I of course in no way minimize the complicity of people of my own sect in propigating the "Jews to blame" concept. Definitely a case of letting the tail (cultural issues) wag the dog. Grr.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Yes, KR is right. Anyone who's stuck on "who is to blame" has really truly missed the point. (See Gibson, Mel.)

7:09 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

:) Wouldn't we all rather be there for the naked Olympics?

3:44 PM  
Anonymous kr said...

(heh :) )

5:26 PM  

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